Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) did not defend Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) Wednesday when asked about the House Republican Leadership’s efforts to oust the Wyoming Republican from her role as House Republican Conference chairwoman in the wake of her sharp criticism of former President Donald Trump.
McConnell was asked about the blowback facing Cheney during an event in Georgetown, Kentucky.
“We are confronted with severe challenges from the new administration and a narrow majority in the House and a 50-50 Senate to turn American into a socialist country and that’s 100 percent of my focus,” McConnell replied.
“100 percent of my focus is standing up this administration. What we have in the United States Senate is total unity from Susan Collins to Ted Cruz in opposition to” the Biden administration’s agenda, the Kentucky Republican added.
The move by McConnell to opt against defending Cheney, a close ally, is the latest sign that the Wyoming Republican’s days are numbered as House Republican Conference chairwoman. Cheney’s repeated calls for the Republican Party to move on from Trump has rankled Republicans inside the beltway and around the country. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was caught on hot mic Tuesday saying that he has “lost confidence” in Cheney after the Wyoming Republican attacked Trump for branding his defeat to President Joe Biden as the “BIG LIE.”
“The 2020 presidential election was not stolen,” Cheney tweeted on Monday. “Anyone who claims it was is spreading THE BIG LIE, turning their back on the rule of law, and poisoning our democratic system.”
On Wednesday, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) announced his support for ousting Cheney from her leadership post and endorsed Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) to replace her, Punchbowl News first reported.
“House Republicans need to be solely focused on taking back the House in 2022 and fighting against Speaker Pelosi and President Biden’s radical socialist agenda, and Elise Stefanik is strongly committed to doing that, which is why Whip Scalise has pledged to support her for Conference Chair,” a Scalise spokesperson, Lauren Fine, said.
Hours later, Trump joined Scalise in throwing his support behind Stefanik for House Republican Conference chair.
“Liz Cheney is a warmongering fool who has no business in Republican Party Leadership. We want leaders who believe in the Make America Great Again movement and prioritize the values of America First. Elise Stefanik is a far superior choice, and she has my COMPLETE and TOTAL Endorsement for GOP Conference Chair. Elise is a tough and smart communicator!” the former president said in a statement.